Nano PC stays always low on the recommendation list when you are out for buying a new system. To some extent they are extremely affordable and helpful. Compared to a full size CPU chassis you get 80% smaller system with mid range hardware config and portability. In this article we will discuss on Foxconn Nano PC nT-i1250. Thin, lightweight and good hardware config are the prime features. It is wrong to say that it can beat Core i3 but it can be near to Intel’s Dual core processor. Compare to AMD, Intel CPU are more reliable and better in multi-tasking even if they belong to an outdated series. We had also reviewed Nano PC AT 5570 that comes with dual core AMD C-70 Apu 1Ghz processor. Compared to that one nT-i1250 is better. Unlike AT5570 it does not have a dedicated video memory, but still I found it better in performance. Nano PC or Mini PC is affordable portable solution for those who are looking to implement cost effective IT infrastructure. With the same, it is also good for those who need a tiny system for multimedia only. Like creating your own media server or HTPC.
Media server pc is different compared to the existing one. They are not meant for work, they are specifically designed to give you pc like features along with smooth video streaming. Here in nT-i1250 we got Intel Dual Core Atom D2550 processor clocked at 1.86GHz. Nano Pc nT-i1250 belongs to Atom series of Mini PC by Foxconn. This series has 5 more models. Nano PC nT-i1250 belongs to the higher series. While the lowest one starts with Intel Cedar 1.86Ghz Dual Core CPU. The newer you buy the better will be the performance. Along with Foxconn also offers Celeron and Ivy Bride Nano PC’s. Under Ivy Bridge you get three models that come with Intel Core i3, Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i7 cpu’s. Here we will test Nano PC nT-i1250 which is an Atom series processor powered by Dual Core CPU, 2GB RAM and 250GB internal storage. Being an entry level Nano PC by Foxconn, still nT-i1250 looks really impressive in performance output.
Powerful features that it offers are integrated wifi and portable speakers in the chassis itself. The speaker is loud enough to listen to music or watch videos. From distance of 4 meters the audio output heard is proper. Intel Dual Core Atom D2550 is one of the most common processor used in many netbooks. It is widely used and termed to be one of the most reliable processor for portable systems. Being a dual core CPU, new applications will work fine. The output is mid range. Do not expect this to be great. Task like video editing/conversion, zip archive, web surfing, data backup, etc works fine. nT-i1250 is supported by Intel GMA 3650 graphics. It is an onboard graphics that comes under low range video memory. With core speed of 640 MHz it is ideal for low range games only. It supports DirectX 9.1 and Open Gl 3.0. Being a low cost graphic solution, apps work great on the same. We will move ahead to find out more detailed information on the Nano pc but before that just have a glimpse on the specification.
1. Series / Model: ATOM/nT-i1250
2.Dimension: 190(W) x 135(D) x 25(H)mm
3.Processors Supported: Intel Dual Core Atom D2550 1.86GHz
4.Chipset: Intel NM10
5.Memory Supported: One SO-DIMM Socket support DDR3 up to 4GB
6.VGA Graphics: Intel GMA 3650
7.Storage Interface: One SATA II connector for 2.5″ HDD or SSD
8.LAN: Support IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
- Two USB 3.0 ports
- SD/SDHC/SDXC/MS/MS Pro/MMC 5 in 1 Card Reader
- Audio line in 3.5mm jack (digital/analog)
- Headphone 3.5mm jack
- Gigabit LAN port
- Four USB 2.0 ports
- Audio line out 3.5mm jack (digital/analog)
- HDMI port support up to 1920×1080 resolution
- DVI port (support VGA out via DVI to VGA Adapter)
For a Mini-PC design matters a lot. If it comes with dull design then surely no one will be happy in buying it. I am really impressed with the design of this system. I had tested out AT5570 last time which came with rough finished aluminum enclosure. Compared to that one nT-i1250 is more sleek and better. It is lighter in weight and thin also. It has a glossy finish on both sides. The Nano pc looks really attractive when you hook it on the seat-base and keep it on the desktop. Now the major issue lies with this mini pc is the lack of proper air ventilation due to which they heat up really fast. Ample of mini pc are fanless. Due to lack of space inside there is no chance to add an air cooler. That leads to overheating of processor after using it for few hours. For that it is essential that you keep it in ac-room. Due to portable design the placement is very simple. You can place it vertically on the desk or simply hook it on the backside via VESA Mount. The package comes with everything you need. A thing this system lacks is a Bluetooth and optical drive. To install an OS you can use a 4GB usb that comes with the package or an usb optical drive.
In terms of design the Atom series looks to be better. Powered by Intel GMA graphics, nT-i1250 comes with a single vga and hdmi port. The maximum resolution that you can get on the hdmi interface is 1920×1080. So that can be good for HTPC. If you are looking for an affordable HTPC solution with portable design and pc like features, nT-i1250 can help you a lot. Another good thing about this mini pc is integrated wifi and speakers. So if you are having a router at your home then you can simply connect it via wifi. And for audio the output is decent. You can watch videos without buying a separate speaker or headphone. At the front side lies a power button on the top with sleep button below. The power button has a led light which is the only light indicator on the entire system. Below that lies the speaker. In our video review section you can check out the maximum volume output.
Below that lie two usb ports. This is high speed usb 3.0 ports that offer faster data transfer speed compared to the older one. It is really good to have high speed ports on the front so that you can instantly move your favorite files from usb to pc or vice versa. You can hook up an external hard drive also on the same. While just below that lies a MicroSD card slot. This is a MMC card slot that supports full size card only. For using Micro- SD card you can buy a full size card adapter. That is a bit uncomfortable here. MicroSD card are quiet common in smartphones and tablet. This slot is mostly used by memory cards of digital camera.
At the end you can see two audio ports. This is regular 3.5mm audio jacks among which the first one on the top is an audio input jack, used for mics. While below that is the regular audio port where you can connect speakers, headphones, etc. The audio quality is standard here. There are no specific hd audio drivers provided. Because when we talk about HTPC then we surely expect some kind of Dolby digital or surround sound effect. In this we might need to rely on the TV set speakers or a separate home theather system.
Ample of connectivity ports lies on the backside. On the top there are 4 additional usb 2.0 ports. That can be used for a keyboard, mouse, printer, external storage, etc. The placement of usb drives is done smartly here. Giving out high speed usb on front and older edition on the back lets you to use them wisely. The usb ports on the backside are extremely inconvenient to access when you hook the pc on the backside of a monitor via VESA Mount. So this are fixed type of ports that can be used for keyboard/mouse. But if you are having too many devices like smartphones, tablets, external storage, usb, then using them altogether is not possible. It is better to buy a high speed usb hub. The best thing you can do is buy a wireless mouse/keyboard which is managed by single usb dongle. Due to which others ports are left free. The model which we tested came with 250GB internal hard drive. This looks to be enough for storing multimedia files.
Nano PC nT-i1250 comes with 2 display port. Among which one is the regular VGA port that is most commonly found in all type of monitors and other one is HDMI, which is a high definition media interface for streaming rich video qualities. In terms streaming hd videos this system works really well without lagging or freezing. The maximum resolution that you will get on the hdmi port is 1920×1080, which looks to be enough for a 29inch TV. In terms of multi-tasking you can blindly trust on Intel’s CPU. But for gaming this CPU is not enough at all. So it is better you avoid playing any games on it. As I said that this system does not have a proper ventilation system due to small design, it gets heated up really fast when you perform high processing job on it. Gaming is one of them. While if you use this system only for multimedia, then it is quiet enough. For better accessibility buy a portable wireless keyboard. There are ample of models available, which would allow you to use it like a pc on big screen.
At the end you can see a lan port, audio jack and power connector. The Gigabit Lan port gives you better performance, which is getting common in many modern systems. Other than this for connectivity there is an integrated wifi available which is an Intel Centrino Wireless N-2200 adapter. The adapter features smooth performance, 300mbps of data bandwidth and efficient power usage. Being a single band wifi you can transfer big size file at a standard ratio. An additional audio in line is provided to connect 2.1 speakers. In terms of audio I was really expecting a lot here. Compared to AT5570 I found nT-i1250 better in terms of design and performance. It only lacks a graphics card that pushes it below AT5570. The common issue both systems can face is overheating.
For air ventilation there are tiny openings on the top and bottom part. But that does not looks to be enough here. Because when you place it vertically on the desk then the lower part is blocked. So it is wise to keep it in horizontally or simply hook it on the backside of monitor via VESA mount. Also we don’t have any option to upgrade the cooler here. Almost all Nano-Pc requires two important things. First is a good heat management technology and second is some sort of integrated battery to keep the system safe from power failure. Nano PC nT-i1250 comes with power adapter. There is no integrated battery available that can let it to work for few hours. In terms of output 2GB ram looks less to me. Being a 64bit system you can add upto 8GB ram on it boosting the performance.
Due to extremely thin size and lightweight design the placement is really easy. You can either place it on the backside of your monitor via mounting panel or simply keep it in on your desktop. It is recommended to hook it on the backside which will not disturb it much. You can hook a good usb hub to extend the ports. The dimension of nT-i1250 is 190(W) x 135(D) x 25(H) mm. That makes it somewhat near to a 7inch tablet pc. The seat-base which offers you to place it vertically holds the system firmly. You can move it easily. It occupies very less space. While placing it on the backside of the monitor or TV it is a wise choice. It is good for those who do not want to make constant changes.
Another way as you can see in the image below is via Vesa mount. A pack of bracket and mount panels are included in the package. You can place it upside down where the power button faces the top side. The bracket is perfect for the system which holds it quiet tightly. In case of a regular full size atx cabinet you have to carry it separately and also you have to mess with the wires. But in this you can just use a good set of cable clips and tie everything together. The next time when you carry the monitor with you the CPU case also comes easily. Here all connectors lie at the bottom. You will just need to tilt the screen to make proper adjustment.
An additional way of keeping this portable pc is placing it horizontally on the desk and keeping monitor over it. Now if your monitor is not really large or not too heavy then you can place it over this pc. But if the below panel is wide then it will not settle properly. This can be done to manage the connectivity. But the best way of keeping this mini pc is on the desk itself, because somehow you will require additional usb ports. And 4 additional ports are available on the back. They are only accessible if you are able to move it properly.
Foxcon Nano PC nT-i1250 belongs to Atom series. There are in total 6 models available here. Among which there are no high end series available. There are some low end models available. But they are not worth to discuss here. Because I had already tested a higher series here. But if you are seriously looking for more performance and ready to spend more money than you can check out the Ivy Bridge series. This is a kind of 1st generation Intel Core I series processor. Now there are only three models available here. They are AT-7300, AT-7500 and AT-7700. Based on increasing number of model it comes with Intel Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 CPU. The maximum clock rate you can get is 3.0 GHz on Turbo boost. For graphics this system are powered by Intel HD Graphics 4000 that support DX11. So that can be a bit helpful for gaming. This is more costly than nT-i1250. There is a mid range Nano pc available which belongs to Celeron series. The mode is nT-i1200. This system comes with Intel Dual Core Celeron 1.1GHz CPU, NM70 chipset and Intel HD Graphic support. Here compared to AMD we are having more choices under Intel system.
After running a few benchmarking test we found that nT-i1250 is a mid range system. It offers you the same kind of performance which you can get on a netbook. Intel Dual Core Atom D2550 1.86GHz processor is capable of giving you good performance for day to day task and entertainment. The existing model comes with 2 GB ram only. Adding a 2GB more will simply help you to gain more performance. Upgrades on a portable pc are always complicated, because of exclusive parts. So if you are not really serious about gaming and looking for a pc that goes well with entertainment, surfing and other day to day task, then nT-i1250 can be an ideal portable solution. For multi-tasking, being an Intel CPU clocked at 1.86 GHz, the output is better here. I will not say it is extremely awesome. But better. As it is a mid range pc. The output on a widescreen system is also enough. Playing HD videos upto 720 pixel goes well. But if you go with higher one and at the same time if there are other background processes running, the system starts freezing for some time. There are two reasons for that. First lack of good video memory and second poor ventilation due to CPU heats up quickly.
Foxconn Nano PC nT-i1250 is a mid range system with good processing power. The specification makes this mini pc an entry level system, but after testing I am sure it will work fine with all kind of task. Just assume you are using a netbook here. I would recommend going with higher number of ram here, while for storage 250GB looks to be enough. Foxconn Nano PC nT-i1250 is ideal choice for offices and educational institution. Good video memory on this will be surely an added advantage. Due to which streaming an hd video on a widescreen is not easy on it. You can simply use Ubuntu or a linux based operating system on it along with media center software like XMBC. This will work really great over Windows. I had seen people get easily confused to identify the potential of a mini pc. For multimedia playback it is really essential that you must buy a system that has dedicated video memory. That plays vital role in video output and also checks the maximum resolution output. There are ample of hd videos that easily crosses 3000×3000 resolution output making the system really slow. Usung Linux is beneficial due to various reasons. You do not require a security application here that saves a few spaces in the memory.
Foxconn Nano PC nT-i1250 is ideal choice for office and home usage. It is not good for widescreen HDTV. The reason is because of poor video memory. The internal storage is higher here. nT-i1250 PC features a really great design. You will need to compromise with the video output if you are willing to use it like a media server. Adding more ram will surely give you additional benefits. In terms of upgrade it is really hard to find good hardware here. Being small size system, the upgrades are also costlier. This system is sold for Rs.9,500.00 in market, which does not includes Hard drive and Memory. You will need to pay for that separately. Seat-base and Vesa mount offers you different choices in placing the system on your desk.
- Great Design
- Good Processor
- Upto 8GB Ram support
- Simple Mounting Panel
- No remote for HTPC
- Poor Video Memory